I'm sure this has been said before, but I can't help but assume that Suzanne Collins got the idea for HG by reading Shirley Jackson's The Lottery and saying to herself, "this isn't long or detailed enough." The book was meh, the movie laughable. This medium just doesn't work for the violent introspective story that Collins first wrote. Good review.
Just read what "The Lottery" is about. Geeze. Did you check out the Vulture review I linked to? Richard Corliss, from TIME, also discusses the lack of violence. Several reviewers mentioned they think the movie may have been better with an R rating.
I just read the Vulture review, he said it well. I don't mean more blood 'n' guts, I just meant doing something to heighten the horror. By no means do I mean to compare the two, but that was what made the original Halloween movie famous...there's no blood (did you notice?) It's known as a terrifying movie over 40 years later, for its suspense/dread, not gore. Ross accomplished, either accidentally or on purpose, that these kids have gotten used to the idea of fighting for their lives. When the above says he side-stepped it, he did just that. Instead he subbed it with scenes like ***SPOILER*** (random male tribute) throws a spear at Rue (off camera). (Camera shift). Rue stands holding a spear against her belly, and drops it. They didn't even bother to make it look like the spear hit her (with the exception of the blood). We're talking play quality here. It upset me. Then we're supposed to be moved to mourn this one death out of the 15 that've happened so far. We have to connect Rue to Prim on our own if we want to understand why this death was special...by all means they only shared two scenes together, and they knew going in that they couldn't both win.
I think the most interesting part of this book/movie translation is what can and can't be done in the corresponding mediums we're discussing. Scholastic published a quite-violent book in the HG, meaning that its available for teens if not children, if not marketed towards them. That same audience wouldn't be permitted to view the very scenes they read if filmed accurately, for the R rating. Yay power of the written word.
P.S.- I'm so glad I'm not the only person pissed off by Wes Bentley for forever due to his role in Ghost Rider.
You didn't list the " people that should see/not see it". I don't know anything about hunger games and was looking to see if it's something I might be interested in. I often look to your reviews when I find myself in this situation.
That's great to hear.
I've changed the title of that section several times in the year the site's been up. The "What's It Good For" and "Pitfalls" sections are the same idea as "See it" and "Not see it".
But instead of writing
See it if you're: a Jennifer Lawrence fans, a fan of sci-fi dystopia
It's good for: Jennifer Lawrence and an introduction to Sci-Fi dystopia.
Different phrasing but similar information.
What do you think?
Sadly, a lot of your gripes are the result of adapting a recently popular novel. Even worse--a teen novel. There isn't much depth to the book, so when the movie bunches these random flashbacks and insinuations together, it's done solely to please the fans of the book. 39% of the audience for The Hunger Games was 18 and younger. The movie purposefully inhibits itself, sort of like you pointed out for Chronicle.
The lack of violence is explained by this. In the book, Katniss shoots an arrow through the throat of the boy who killed Rue. It's gruesome, but it wasn't glorifying violence. Collins takes the opportunity to then explore the effect of killing a human being--the movie just...moves on. The more I think about this film, the more incompetent it seems. I loved the style, the greys and browns, the melancholic mood. But it's substance free. Substance exists if you've read the book--that's a sign of a poor adaptation.
I remember enjoying the movie because I really enjoyed the book. The more I look back I realize the movie wasn't as good as it should have been. It was like watching a bunch of scenes that were filmed apart from the rest, then placed in a mash up. There doesn't seem to be any strong themes or ideas that pull you through one scene and into the next.
In reference to the flashbacks, they are handled much better in the book. The first moment Peeta's name is called during the Reaping and she recognizes him, she goes into a memory. In the memory she talks about how her mother, sister, and herself had hit rock bottom. How they had no food and her mother was emotionally vacant and that she was wondering the streets in the rain almost dying from mal-nutrition and exhaustion. That's when Peeta sees her and deliberately burns the bread so he can throw it to her. In the movie they make it seem like he just happened to have some burned bread and thought he'd throw it to the hobo in the street. She is also never mad at him for 'treating her like an animal', the book better describes her as feeling indebted to Peeta. That nothing she could ever do would pay him back for saving her family in their biggest time of need and this is the reason she is uncomfortable and comes off cold to Peeta.
The father dying is also addressed in the first couple chapters along with a good explanation as to why she treats her mother the way she does...I guess they knew they had to include this backstory somewhere and thought it would be 'cool' to do it during the hallucination.
I guess that's what you get with adaptations...
Hey Shane. Thanks for the information. I don't know if I'll ever read the books. And no one I've spoken with has given much of a description about how the backstory was handled in the book. So, for me, this was great to read.
I definitely think the movie could have just said, "you know what..." and added 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and been much, much improved.
That's pretty much exactly what I said when we left the theater. Even though it was pretty long, it would have benefited a lot from a few extra minutes, especially if it meant a deeper connection between the audience and the characters (which was somewhat lacking)
Again, that connection is much better obtained in the book, mostly because of Katniss' internal dialogue. I honestly went into the movie expecting her to narrate a large portion of the film. Unfortunately this was not the case, given that I believe the movie would have been better for it.
articles that you write very good indeed. I really enjoyed reading your article, thank you .....
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